On Friday April 22, the Kalamazoo College English Department hosted a book launch for Dr. Andrew Mozina’s recently published book, Contrary Motion. This event began with a performance of Saint-Saens’ “Fantaisie for Violin and Harp” by the music department’s Andrew Koehler playing the violin and Mozina’s wife, Lorraine Alberts, on the harp.
This was followed by an introduction of the novel by Dr. Bruce Mills of the English Department.
“Readers can cringe with the in depth view of one’s own intimacies … a good storyteller [can] make you cringe,” Mills said.
“Contrary Motion is about a divorced harpist living in Chicago getting ready for a principal harp audition with the St. Louis Symphony. In the months leading up to the audition, he runs a gauntlet of emotionally charged situations: his father dies; his ex-wife, whom he’s still in love with, gets engaged; his current girlfriend grows distant; his daughter starts acting out. As a pick-me-up, he starts moonlighting by performing for dying people at a hospice,” Mozina said. He has worked on this novel for about thirteen years.
Mozina read from different sections of his novel. “I chose the very beginning because it orients everyone to the book. I chose the meditation scene because it is short and self-contained and is a big plot point. I chose the wedding scene because it is kind of a counterpoint to the death scene (though not entirely) and hopefully would be funny,” he said.
Natalie Fisher K’18 who attended the event and has Mozina as a professor this quarter exclaimed her excitement at hearing him read his book. “It was really awesome to see the success of a professor that I’ve had… he [was] the one reading my work and this time I got to hear his. It’s a cool flip,” she said.
Mallory McClure K’16 agreed with Fisher, “It’s just exciting to have a professor who is active in doing their [own work] and it’s exciting to read something your professor has written… It’s very funny and I’m excited to read it.”
As a published author and English professor, Mozina’s advice for aspiring writers is to “read a lot, write as steadily as you can, don’t give up, get and listen to the other people’s opinions about your work. And always stay in touch [with] what you think is good about writing and make your final decisions based on your own sensibility.”